Tuesday, February 4, 2014

OTBR: Mile-wide Floodplain of the Mississippi

Latitude: N 39° 29.976
Longitude: W 091° 02.382

A child on a road trip with his family asks, "Where are we?" and the father answers, "Let's check the map. We're off the blue roads [the Interstate Highways marked in blue on the road atlas]. We're off the red roads [the US and state highways]. We're off the black roads [the county highways]. I think we're off the map altogether." It was always my dream to be off the map altogether.

After the jump, a few of the random places (and I mean random literally) that I visited vicariously last month that are "off the blue roads".

  • in the mile-wide floodplain of the Mississippi River in Illinois, with only metal silos breaking the horizon of open farm fields
  • in mostly pasture country, along with a harvested cornfield, in Nebraska, desolate and dead at this time of year
  • in a leafy linear park in Surrey Hills, an inner eastern suburb of Melbourne, where there were several large eucalyptus trees and two magpies
  • in the cloverleaf for the Warsaw exit of I-40 in North Carolina
  • on the Germantown on-ramp of I-270 in Maryland
  • inside the gates of a refinery in Finland
  • on a tree-lined street in suburban Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, near the playing fields of two prestigious Roman Catholic Secondary Schools ("There were boys practising their cricket skills.")
  • along a fence line to a large paddock near Hall's Gap, Victoria, Australia, not too far from the rocky peaks of the Grampians mountains
  • in rural Tennessee, on a road near a run-down house with a trailer for sale across the street that looked nicer than the house
  • in an oak and pine forest in South Carolina, the ground covered with fallen leaves ("no people, no animals, no structures, but I could hear the traffic.")
  • near Brighton, England, near a golf course on the South Downs, with several small groups of travelers encampments
  • near a housing estate in the UK with a large stone commemorating historical events in the area, two being from the time of Henry VII and one being the 2012 Olympics
  • in California, in a flat, typical, ready-to-grow furrowed field in this agricultural land ("unfortunately currently dry, dry, dry.")
  • in North Carolina, down the lane from "The Original Hollywood Horror Show", a pretty creepy looking haunted house compound in the middle of nowhere
  • in North Carolina, behind a bunch of mailboxes along the 'Old Jefferson Davis Highway' ("Had to crank up Neil Young to counter the Rebel mojo.")
  • in California, in a "rough and gritty" area past some "equestrian estates" ("Spotted 2 hawks sitting on the ground ... very, very still ... around burrows of ground squirrels.")
  • just south of Hollywood Blvd in California, in a building with a large painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico, on the south wall
  • in Maryland, off the cart path, between holes 4 and 5, of the Whiskey Creek Golf Course, closed this day because of snow
  • next to a rather distinguished saguaro cactus in an area of the New Mexico desert that is a huge corridor for illegal immigration and drug smuggling
  • in Coyote Lake, 24 meters from the shore in northern California's Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch County Park
  • and at the west wall of Sacred Heart Church in Burchard Nebraska ("site of the future Harold Lloyd silent film museum.")

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